It is important for people living with type 2 diabetes to pay attention to all aspects of their health and wellbeing. Your oral health is a very important aspect of your overall health and wellbeing.

Recent studies have shown an increased risk between poor oral health and heart disease.

The risk for heart disease increases even more when you have 2 diabetes and poor oral health.

This is because diabetes already puts you at twice the risk of heart disease than the general population. So when you add poor oral health to the mix you could more than double your risk.

The mouth contains thousands of different bacteria, fungi and viruses. Normally with proper oral hygiene and well functioning salivary glands, these do not cause any problems.

However when the mouth becomes unhealthy then a number of dental problems can set in.

The most common teeth and gum problems associated with type 2 diabetes are:

  • Tooth decay
  • gum disease
  • altered taste
  • fungal infections commonly oral thrush
  • dry mouth
  • infections

Poorly controlled Diabetes can lead to tooth decay and gum disease

When blood sugars are high, this is called hyperglycemia. Hyperglycemia can cause bacteria and fungi to thrive in the saliva. This leads to the development of plaque.

Plaque is a hard material that builds up in the mouth. It attaches to the surface and in between the teeth. It can also collect beneath the gum line. When this happens, the gums become inflamed. This is called periodontal disease.

High blood sugars can put you at a higher risk for periodontal disease. Eventually, the gum disease becomes so bad that they lose their teeth.

Here are some signs of periodontal disease. If you have any of these signs then see a dentist as soon as possible

  • gums that bleed easily
  • red swollen and painful gums
  • bad breath
  • bad taste
  • pus in between teeth or when the gums are pressed
  • gums that have been pulled away from the teeth

Diabetes can also fungal infections

Oral thrush is a fungal infection that can occur in people with diabetes type 2.

There are several reasons why you can get fungal infections in the mouth:

  • Wearing dentures
  • Cigarette smoking
  • Hyperglycemia
  • Antibiotics
  • Dry mouth

How to reduce dental problems

  • Brush your teeth twice a day with a soft toothbrush. You can also use a electric toothbrush.
  • Floss between your teeth at least once a day
  • Change your toothbrush at least every 3 months
  • Use an antimicrobial mouthwash
  • Use a toohpaste that contains floride
  • Watch for any signs of dental problems and inform your dentist
  • Quit smoking
  • Drink water regularly to keep the mouth moist

See your dentist regularly

  • Schedule an appointment twice a year to see your dentist.
  • If you have any sores or pain in your mouth be sure to let your dentist know.
  • Let your dentist know if your blood sugars are high.
  • Inform your dentist if there is any change in your medical history.
  • Do not take any oral medications that could lower your blood sugar before seeing the dentist.
  • If you are going to have dental work done and you are taking a blood thinner, be sure to let your dentist know this. The dentist may want to get a medical clearance from your primary healthcare provider if planning a dental procedure such as a root canal or deep scaling to remove plaque.

Take the time to make sure that you pay attention to health of your mouth.  That way you will not go through the pain from lost teeth.

Let’s face it dental care to replace lost teeth can be very costly. So why not invest in prevention rather than a cure?

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Here’s to your health and wellbeing,

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Healthy Tip:

If you have a cold or cough, be sure to change your toothbrush. That way you will not reinfect yourself.

Also be sure to increase your intake of Vitamin C this winter season, it will help accelerate healing from colds and flu like symptoms.